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When the left tries to combat the right by moving to the right.

Austerity, cutting government spending and hoping that the private sector will take up the slack.

Giving an economy with high long term unemployment especially amongst the young and low if any growth.

During this time what happens on the right, they move to the right and find social scapegoats, immigrants, gays, and poor people even though the root cause is the continuation of their economic policies.


Very low voter turnout for France of around 61 to 62% since many on the left stayed home due to apathy or disgust with the ruling classes.

The far right as is often the case improved their position even without improving their general appeal. Marine LePen has made the Front Nationale slightly less vomit inducing than it was under her father but it is still as nasty underneath as it always was.

This is the perfect case of a center left wing government trying to follow on from a center right wing government by applying the same economics. The young have been pretty much abandoned in this climate with an unemployment rate of twice the national average standing at around 26%. We have had a jobless mild recovery.

The result of all this is that the President François Hollande is about as popular as head lice and the left completely demotivated. So when an election came around the expected result occurred because so many on the left said fuck that, and stayed at home.

So the Front Nationale made some gains but the real winners in this were the center right parties and if this continues into the Presidential elections in 2017 we will just have the same economic policies that made François Hollande so unpopular again. The crux of the matter that is exactly what the right will promise will work if tried hard enough [it never does] whereas the "left" promised something different but did the same.

The conclusion of this for the "left" is don't try and be a right wing party economically [especially since you know those economic policies have been poor at best] yet still expect a different result.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar. Being socially progressive is one thing (23+ / 0-)

    continuing right wing economic policy another, the latter trumps the former when the economy is poor in any large scale election.

  •  I Wouldn't Write Off the Front National - (10+ / 0-)

    Quite so readily.

    Marine Le Pen is a consummate political organizer and has positioned the FN exceedingly well within the current French political climate.

    Throughout the E.U. the working class and working poor have abandoned the left in droves for right-wing populist parties. In the Netherlands - Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom. In the Norwegian government - the Progress Party. More extreme in Greece - the Golden Dawn Party. Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Ukraine, Italy, and especially Hungary.

    For most of the past year, the Front National has been polling 1st or 2nd in the Euro Parliament elections in May. Now, the E.P. may have as much influence as a fan in a hurricane, but it does serve as a barometer. And Marine Le Pen knows the E.P. elections can serve as a break through given the use of proportional representation of seats.

    You are correct to identify the neoliberal practices of center-left parties as anathma to the working class; however, green left policies also contribute to alienation, as well. This can be seen in the post-industrial, resource-based communities, such as Henin-Beaumont,which are the mainsprings of FN support. The backlash among the working poor and unemployed to skyrocketing utility rates throughout the E.U. and the record number of disconnections are another barometer.

    The problem with the green agenda worldwide is that it places the environmental transformation and its concurrent costs before the material basis of the larger population. Such an ordering is doomed to failure and, in fact, is reactionary in its results - if not its intent.

    The center right is in ascendency and the far right is openly marching. Meanwhile, the left has no coherent platform to offer working people.

    •  The Front Nationale can win a few local (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MartyM, dconrad

      elections the real result in any success they might have is that the UMP will follow them out to the fringe. to gain votes

      A bit like the tea party messing with the Republican Party

    •  The left is a mess I agree and if they continue (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, Portlaw, johnnygunn

      right wing economics the more of a mess they will become and lose the Presidential elections in a landslide.

      •  The left may be a mess, but not voting only (0+ / 0-)

        emboldens the right and far right.

        If the "masses" don't like the austerity of the left, why do they vote for the far right?

        There is more to this than just dissatisfaction with the left and center left. There is something they find attractive about the right.

        It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

        by auapplemac on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 02:48:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Populism is by definition designed to attract. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10, johnnygunn, MartyM, ActivistGuy

          The left of center have not forgotten what is popular they just forget to do what is popular and listen only to the powerful.

          The extreme right pretends to listen with the advantage of not having to actually do anything so they cannot be judged on actual performance.

          The left have failed to act on their reason for being hence what is there to actually vote fo,  so why vote.

          You cannot keep on with the mantra "we are not as bad as the other side for long" before you lose the people you should be motivating.

    •  Globally (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaFeminista, johnnygunn, katiec

      the far right is displacing the left.  What has passed for left "leadership" for better than a generation has been indistinguishable from the establishment center-right.  The constituencies that once looked to the left have never identified with any establishment.  Thus, the far right scoops up their anti-establishment posture and fervor, offers them scapegoats for their social and economic despair, while the successors to what once was the left offer them nothing at all, and presents culturally as exactly that which has plundered them.  (E.g., the Tea Party is strong in West Virginia and Kentucky.)  This is a global phenomenon, the lusty cheers the American "left" sends up for the crushing of those small pockets of remaining leftism in the world (Venezuela, the coup in Honduras, etc.) are part of our own defeat, cheer it as much as we will.  This will be a century virtually devoid of a left anywhere in the world.  The great conflicts will be between an establishment corporate center-right and a populist, militant hard right.  Left "leadership", in all its "pragmatism", has chosen to become a subaltern element of the former.  Activists will find ourselves abandoned, surrounded and adrift in a sea of the latter.

      Pay no attention to the upward redistribution of wealth!

      by ActivistGuy on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 06:37:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Amen. (0+ / 0-)

        Speaking of "amen" - -

        I stayed once with a snake-handling preacher and his wife in West Virginia during a cross-county bike tour. They were wonderful people and we kept in touch for many years.

        As a young adult I used to make fun of snake handlers, but I have a different understanding now. For people who own nothing - not their land, not their houses, not their jobs, not even the stores in their hamlets - their faith is entirely theirs.

        And I admire their resilience.

  •  Who has Hollande's ear? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Has their admin tuned out people like you?

    "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money." -- JC, Matthew 6:24

    by Chi on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 02:18:28 AM PDT

  •  Well, "right" and "left" are euphemistic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    designations whose sole function is to disguise the real distinction and dynamic.
    It's not a matter of directions, of which there are many more than two and why the directionally challenged are easily confused, but it is a matter of two forces in opposition, which might be more accurately described as the choice between those who serve and those who coerce.
    Humans with few talents, other than the gift of gab, prefer the latter because, if persuasion doesn't work, they have no option but to coerce to sustain themselves. It's only when their resorting to force becomes too blatant that we put them in jail. The symbolically astute end up on Wall Street. You can't squeeze blood from a turnip, but dollars are easy to coerce and collect. So, there's virtually no practical impediment and what we see as periodic financial crashes are really engineered events to shift the assets all at once.

    by hannah on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 02:21:06 AM PDT

  •  The French "center right" is FAR to the left (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Of the Democratic Party in the US.

  •  In a duopoly, Brand X always does better (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary J

    when Brand Y does not fulfill its campaign promises, even when Brand Y's policies are even worse. But, I thought Proportional Representation allowed people to fragment their support to parties that they agreed with, rather than have to flock to the opposite of the party they are disappointed with.

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 03:41:27 AM PDT

    •  France stopped having proportional (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      representation in 1958.

      We now have a system where if you get over 50% in the first round you win, however if nobody gets 50% its a run off between the two with the highest number of votes.

      With a proportional the FN would have far more seats

      Its in French sorry but the graphs are clear

      •  Thanks for this (0+ / 0-)

        Although, normally I wouldn't be inclined to trust Le Figaro.

        La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

        by dconrad on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 04:10:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  France - Two blocs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LaFeminista, dconrad

      My analysis, of what I think I understand about the French political system, may be of some value.

      The French have many different political parties, but under the 5th Republic most of them were collapsed into two blocs. Under the two ballot system, the leading candidates of right and left would tend to compete in the 2nd round.

      The two bloc system has been somewhat destabilised by the FN. Until recently the main stream centre-right and the FN did not end up with one candidate (when both had the opportunity to stand in the second round) so there could not be the traditional straight right versus left fight in some legislative elections. In recent legislative elections there were a few cases where the centre right candidate did drop out in favour of a FN one.

      The rules for Presidential elections do not permit more than two candidates in the second round. Hitherto the FN, if it gets to the second round, has been crushed by centre right and centre left voters joining together (a bit like the Edwin Edwards v David Duke gubernatorial election in Louisiana). If the FN and the UMP continue to move closer together this might eventually lead to the FN becoming part of the right wing of the two bloc system., which would not be a desirable development.

      There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

      by Gary J on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 08:57:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what should he have done? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    limpidglass, LaFeminista, dconrad

    I wonder how much freedom a government like Hollande´s still retains to change economic policy decisively.

    remember that Mitterand tried it and failed in 1981.

    a wholesale shift decisively to the left in economics appears to me to be possible today only if it is happening EU wide, concertedly. (which is one of the strongest arguments for either federalization or breakup of the EU).



  •  Hollande has failed to produce jobs (0+ / 0-)

    and that is why the people are disillusioned.  He hasn't cut enough red tape and permitted the creation of enough new tech sector jobs.  That's why there is massive emigration of young French technocrats to London and the U.S.  

    His dour personality doesn't help either.  Nor does his complicated family drama.  People are just tired of it.  

    I could foresee a return to a UMP presidency, but I don't think the FN would ever take the top office.  The Le Pen duo is really shopworn.    

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 08:20:53 AM PDT

    •  I doubt they care much about drama (0+ / 0-)

      His complicated family drama, if it actually does poll badly (does it?), is probably just a reflection of the discontent over other (read: economic) matters. No?

      La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

      by dconrad on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 03:14:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I think they do care (0+ / 0-)

        insofar as it is (was?) a distraction from the country's real problems as well as an embarrassment internationally.  If you saw footage of Hollande in his motorcycle helmet, wending his way to his mistress' apartment, you would have found him to be a pretty ridiculous sight.

        Tonight he was very grave, however, having been dealt such a blow in the municipal elections, having to name a whole new government.  Maybe the next chapter will be a better one for him.  I hope so.

        It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

        by Radiowalla on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 07:52:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  F*cking exactly (0+ / 0-)

    Why vote for a "progressive" when they forward a corporate agenda. That's why American liberals en masse need to loudly and publicly reject a Hillary nomination by threatening an exodus. Contrary to the "but she's a Democrat!" crowd who say the only way to influence policy is to shut up and endorse whatever Dem wins the nomination, all it does it is enable and endorse further austerity and income inequality.

    Screw that. Cut the cancer out with a knife, no matter the label it wears.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony

    by pajoly on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 09:33:18 AM PDT

  •  Aren't they upset over tax increases? (0+ / 0-)

    I had heard that one of the main complaints about Hollande was that he had raised taxes so much (and with little to show for it in terms of economic improvement). Is that true? I confess, I haven't been paying hardly any attention for the last couple of years. I was so happy to see Sarkozy go that I just said, "Bon débarras !" and forgot all about it.

    La majestueuse égalité des lois, qui interdit au riche comme au pauvre de coucher sous les ponts, de mendier dans les rues, et de voler du pain.

    by dconrad on Mon Mar 31, 2014 at 03:19:35 PM PDT

  •  so, now this. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Manuel Valls new prime minister.

    thats even more running to the rights.

    hm hm

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